Temporary residence permit South Africa
In order to live in South Africa as a resident, it is necessary to apply for a temporary residency visa. All temporary residency visas vary in duration, but can be for a period of three months up to five years. There is a closed list of categories for temporary residency and so an applicant must carefully consider both what they are eligible for and what they intend to do in South Africa.
An initial application for a long-term visa to reside in South Africa must be done from an applicant’s country of residency, so it is important to make plans to submit before coming to South Africa and to allow for sufficient time for an application to be adjudicated.
There are exceptions to applying abroad, which include:
- an applicant is obtaining a medical treatment visa
- is the child or spouse of a general work visa/business visa holder;
- an applicant has a waiver which gives them permission to change their status in the country; or
- an applicant is applying for a three-year spousal visa in terms of section 11(6)
If an applicant already has temporary residency for South Africa, they will be entitled to renew or change their visa to another category from within South Africa, barring a few exceptions.
Such an application must be submitted 60 days prior to the expiration of the current visa, otherwise additional documentation to explain why a submission was not made timeously will need to also be submitted.
Choosing a category of temporary residency can be challenging, but at LISSA we pride ourselves in being able to give personalised advice on which categories are suitable to an applicant and to take the applicant through the process – whether it is a first-time submission, renewal or change of status.
Temporary residence permit application can be divided into 3 categories which are: Initial Applications, Renewals, Extensions and Overstays and Finding out the Status of a Pending Application.
Initial Temporary Residence Applications
(a) South African Embassies or High Commissions Abroad
Applications for temporary residence in South Africa can be prepared and submitted either in the applicant’s country of origin or country of working or long term residency
(b) Submission within South Africa
Applications for temporary residence can also be efficiently acquired within South Africa on a normal entry or holiday stay by means of a change of status application from a visitor or any other valid temporary residence visa or permit to any other temporary residence permit or visa status.
Renewals, Extensions and Overstays
(a) Applications for temporary residence may also be extended or renewed whilst still in South Africa but it is imperative to have such renewal applications submitted before 30 days of expiry of such exiting permit.
(b) A failure to submit a renewal or extension application within the 30 days period will result in an applicant having to demonstrate Good Cause for the late submission.
(c) Where an applicant, whilst previously on a valid temporary residence, has overstayed his or her temporary residence permit, he or she may legalise an overstay by showing good cause and submitting a new application simultaneously with the legalisation process through the Inspectorate’s office.
Status of pending temporary residence application
(a) Since 2010, our Department of Home Affairs has been struggling to maintain its legal obligation to adjudicate applications for temporary residence within 30 days of submission.
(b) In this regard it is important to appreciate that any application for temporary residence or renewal or extension thereof, if submitted in South Africa, the applicant may remain legally in South Africa pending the outcome of the adjudication of such application with legal consequence.